TRAVERSE CITY — By Carol South
Special to the Record-Eagle
The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation's mission is to make a difference and create legacies that matter.
Since its founding 20 years ago, the foundation stewarded more than $70 million. Organization and individuals entrusted the foundation with their money as a way to make an impact in the region.
Over that time, contributions have resulted in $37 million in community grants given to local nonprofit organizations. Funds supported programs, services and capital projects in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties.
The foundation's assets currently stand at $47 million.
"We're the endowment builder, building the resources of our community to be here forever," said Phil Ellis, executive director of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation. "For us, we recognize in our 20th year it's not about us but how we can be a resource for donors."
Twenty years is a relatively short amount of time for a community foundation; a similar foundation in Grand Rapids just celebrated 90 years. In the context of successful and enduring community foundations — there are more than 700 nationally and internationally — the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation's board is planning for the next five, 20, 50 years.
A long-term perspective both reflects and honors the legacies created by donor funds.
Some large impact projects over the years include the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA capital campaign, Thirlby Field and the National Writer's Series. The power of many is leveraged thanks to the Community Foundation.
"(T)he ACE Fund started with just one donor and there have been 750 donors since then," said Ellis of a fund that supports Traverse City Area Public Schools. "We can all be philanthropists."
The board awarded more than $410,000 in December, the latest grant cycle, including $180,000 given as part of its competitive fall grant cycle. Recent awards boost the total for 2012 to $1.7 million granted.
A new Bethany Christian Services program received a competitive grant of $4,000 from the Campbell Endowment for a new Safe Families for Children program, a program that also received a regional impact grant of $5,000 from the foundation's Youth Advisory Council.
The grant allows Bethany to launch an initiative that provides support and a temporary home for children whose families are experiencing a temporary crisis.
"It's really a blessing," said Craig Bultsma, executive branch director of Bethany Christian Services. "It enables us to reach out into the community and help families in need."
The Foundation's roots are linked with Rotary Charities, whose board of directors provided support and leadership in 1992 to establish the foundation.
A W.K. Kellogg Foundation matching grant helped boost the nascent fund. The resulting $4 million raised sparked a match of $2 million from Kellogg for a Youth Endowment.
"They created us to become a resource that others could come to," Ellis said.
The foundation hosts approximately 280 funds that support arts and culture, the environment, youth and education. Community enrichment funds are geared to help with health and human services, seniors, food programs and housing. Approximately 15 to 20 new funds are created each year.
The Foundation distributes about $2 million each year and one of the region's largest grantmakers. More than half the money disbursed is earmarked for community enrichment.
One component is that members of a Youth Advisory Council, teens in high school, get to decide how to distribute $67,500 from the Youth Endowment. The 60 members of this year's council are high school students from the foundation's five-county area. Young grantmakers learn the basics of philanthropy and grantmaking, review applications and select programs to recommend for funding.
"It's a unique way to serve my community," said Lauren Murray, a senior at Traverse City Central High School. "You can think about the impact of these grants and you know exactly what it's going to do."
For more information on Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, call 935-4066 or see www.gtrcf.org
TRAVERSE CITY — By Carol South
Murder suspect has criminal past
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Sidewalk shoveling debate heats up
Ben Hansen and Chris Bazzett left their Traverse City home for a short walk downtown on the busiest shopping weekend of the year, but they had to walk down the middle of the street to get there.Continued ...
Quarter scheduling proposed
Officials at Traverse City Area Public Schools are practicing their fractions as they play with the district’s high school schedules.Continued ...
Antrim drug probe ends with 31 convictions
A string of Antrim County overdose deaths prompted a four-year drug trafficking probe that netted 31 convictions.Continued ...
Stowe sentenced to jail
Cynthia Stowe’s tearful apology and admission that she has an alcohol problem couldn’t keep her out of jail.Continued ...
- Wednesday, December 4, 2013
GT County board rejects 2014 budget
Grand Traverse County remains without a 2014 budget.Continued ...
Coming Thursday: Stowe sentenced to jail
Cynthia Stowe's tearful apology and admission that she has an alcohol problem couldn't keep her out of jail.Continued ...
Strikes planned at Michigan fast-food restaurants
Workers are expected to walk off their jobs Thursday at fast-food restaurants across Michigan as part of a national protest in 100 cities against low wages.Continued ...
Man charged in 1996 slaying of Kalkaska woman
Jason Anthony Ryan lived as a free man for 17 years after a heinous Kalkaska County crime. Ryan’s days of freedom ended Monday after authorities said new DNA tests link him with the 1996 murder of Geraldine Montgomery, 68, who died of asphyxiation after at least one attacker raped her, stuffed her into the trunk of her car and left the vehicle running.Continued ...
Estes sentenced to 18 months probation
Michael Estes’ drunken driving case ended with a judge handing down a sentence crafted to help Traverse City’s mayor “better” his life through 18 months of probation and alcohol treatment programs.Continued ...
Wettest fall on record gives way to abnormal cold
Rain, snow and clouds were more than seemingly endless during the three fall months in northwest Michigan — they also were record setting.Continued ...
Board picks new Benzie County administrator
Beulah resident Karl Sparks hadn’t adjusted well to retirement’s relative inaction.Continued ...
Thrift shop invites kids to shop for family members
Kids are invited to shop for their family at an upcoming Secret Santa Shopping Day at the Women’s Resource Center Thrift Shop.Continued ...
Bats considered for endangered listing
Michigan is one of four states east of the Dakotas free of white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease that targets a nocturnal, flying mammal.Continued ...
- Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Coming Wednesday: Man charged in 1996 slaying of Kalkaska woman
Jason Anthony Ryan lived as a free man for 17 years after a heinous Kalkaska County crime.Continued ...
Grand Traverse to hold pension bond hearings
The Grand Traverse County Commission will host public hearings on the 2014 budget and a proposal to borrow more than $40 million to cover pension obligation costs during a committee meeting Wednesday night.Continued ...
Police make arrest in 1996 murder
A man is expected to be arraigned today on charges tied to the 1996 rape and murder of a woman in Kalkaska County.Continued ...
Estes sentenced to probation
A judge sentenced Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes to 18 months probation for driving while impaired.Continued ...
GT board: Open meeting violations?
Grand Traverse County’s governing board is under fire for limiting public comment at a contentious budget meeting attended by scores of citizens.Continued ...
GT County deer harvest down
The bucks dropped here. Actually, it’s true of both does and bucks: the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says hunters in Grand Traverse County alone reported 42 percent fewer deer killed this year compared to last year.Continued ...
Citizens turn out to support tribe
One of the first things Holly Thompson’s son noticed about the new Clinch Park was how it had erased any mention of his Native American history.Continued ...
One arrested in Leelanau vehicle thefts
A string of Leelanau County vehicle thefts and larcenies led to a Mount Pleasant man’s arrest and a statewide manhunt for another suspect.Continued ...
Clearing the Record: 12/03/2013
Because of incorrect information provided to the Record-Eagle, the amount of a grant awarded to Traverse City by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust was incorrect in a Nov. 23 story, and the trust's name was misspelled.Continued ...
- Monday, December 2, 2013
Girls Basketball: St. Francis wins season opener (with video)
The St. Francis Gladiators started the 2013-14 season with a 47-23 win over Harbor Springs tonight in the Katie Heintz Keep Believing Tip-off Tournament.Continued ...
Bomb squad called to Cherry Growers
A Cherry Growers Inc. employee’s discovery of a “suspicious device” brought a state police bomb squad to the fruit processor’s Grawn building.Continued ...
- Murder suspect has criminal past